(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

B.C. teacher banned from teaching younger students after showing age-inappropriate movies

Teacher showed multiple inappropriate movies and failed to supervise students

A Prince George teacher has been suspended for one day and temporarily banned from teaching younger students after showing films that were not considered age appropriate.

The incidents are laid out in a B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation document posted Tuesday (April 6).

The documents state that Andrew Michael Dennis was teaching Grade 6/7 classes when the various incidents occurred. In September 2018, Dennis showed his students The Hobbit, which the documents state “was not curriculum related.”

Then, later that month, Dennis showed his students the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, that was neither curriculum related nor age appropriate, as it deals racism, racial slurs and sexual assault. The movie is considered an appropriate resource for students in Grade 10 and up, not Dennis’ Grade 6 and 7s.

In late September 2019, one of the students’ parents wrote to the principal to express concern about the number of movies the class had watched, especially To Kill a Mockingbird. The next day, Dennis told his class that he was meeting with the principal because someone had complained, as well as sharing a letter of expectation the district sent him. Because that student’s parent was a teacher, the class was able to figure out that it was they who had complained.

The school district sent Dennis another letter of direction about keeping confidential information private.

Despite having been told not to show age-inappropriate movies in class, Dennis still had his students read The Lottery, and then showed them a corresponding short film from YouTube. According to B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch documents, The Lottery tells the story of a small U.S. town that conducts an annual pagan ritual which includes sacrificing a community member by stoning to ensure a good harvest. Members of the community would draw pieces of paper out of a box, and the person who drew a paper with a dot on it would be stoned to death. The story is considered a Grade 11 and 12 resource.

Following the lesson on The Lottery, Dennis had his students play a dodgeball version of the story in P.E. class, based on the stoning scene.

“Specifically, students drew pieces of paper out of a hat and the students who drew a piece with a dot on it had dodgeballs thrown at them,” the document state.

The school district sent Dennis a letter of discipline about the incident and reminded him to follow the Grade 6 or 7 curriculum.

Then in October 2019, when Dennis was working as an on-call teacher at a different school, he did not stop two students who were wrestling, despite that schools “no touch” policy between students. Dennis had been aware of the policy but when another teacher came out to separate the students, Dennis said that the students were “just playing.”

The school district then issued Dennis a letter of direction about supervising students appropriately. This was not Dennis’ first incident of this sort; in February 2019, he had been issued a letter of expectation for not properly supervising kindergarten students.

Dennis admitted to the improper conduct, and was given a one-day suspension to be served April 6 and told to take the Creating a Positive Learning Environment course through the Justice Institute of British Columbia by the end of 2021. Dennis will also be prohibited from teacher Grades 1-7 until he has taken that course.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

EducationSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

Interior Health nurses were administering COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aides in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Kelowna martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health previously issued a ticket to Flow Academy in February for non-compliance with public health orders

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role in the fight after the game was over. (Morning Star - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

A worker is seen dismantling the damaged crane on April 13. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Crews dismantle crane damaged in Glenmore Construction fire

The crane expected to be removed by the end of the day

The Okanagan Forest Task Force’s only means of getting garbage out of the backcountry broke down on Tuesday, April 6. (Kane Blake - Okanagan Forest Task Force)
Okanagan forest cleanup group’s truck repaired free of charge

Okanagan Forest Task Force uses the truck to haul garbage out of the backcountry

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 so far

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

WATCH: Conservation group releases short doc on saving South Okanagan’s ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Skaha Lake Middle School. (File photo)
COVID exposure at Penticton middle school

Skaha Middle School is the latest in growing lists of exposure in the Okanagan

Most Read